Dutch retail giant Ahold said today (20 January) that it delivered a “strong sales performance” in all of its markets in 2010.

For the year ended 2 January, net sales climbed 5.7% to reach EUR29.53bn (US$39.86bn). In the fourth quarter, sales rose 2.6% to EUR6.97bn.

“We delivered a strong sales performance in all of our markets,” the firm said. “The environment remained challenging and customers continued to focus on value, driving intense promotional activity, particularly in the US,” Ahold said in a statement.

In the US, Ahold’s full-year net sales reached US$23.5bn, a 5.1% increase on 2009. In the quarter, net sales rose 6% to $5.6bn, boosted by the impact of the Ukrop acquisition sealed last February.

Over the course of 2010, Ahold’s US identical-store sales were up 1.5%, while comparable-store sales rose 1.9%. Identical-store sales in the quarter increased 1.9% and comparable-store sales were up 2.1%.

In Ahold’s home market, sales climbed 4.7% to EUR10.1bn in 2010 and were up 5.2% to EUR2.4bn in the quarter.

In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Ahold’s annual sales were hit by store closures and downsizings as part a restructuring programme implemented in 2009. As a result, full-year sales slid 3.5% to EUR1.7bn. Fourth-quarter sales, however, rose 2.7% to EUR428m.

In the wake of the trading update, Ahold shares dropped 1.4% to EUR9.61 at 10.05am BST today.

Click here to view the full earnings release.